If you have back pain that lasts more than 12 weeks, your back pain is considered chronic. If the pain persists, it could cause other problems. For example, you may change the way you walk, sit, or run, and thus put undue stress on your joints and cause your body to shift out of alignment.
Living with chronic pain can affect how fully you enjoy your life, too. You may gain weight and have to stop engaging in activities you enjoy. And living in pain might make you feel depressed or hopeless.
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine, located in Ramsey, New Jersey, our doctors —
Kevin McElroy, DO, and Steven Ferrer, MD — and our knowledgeable team offer drug-free spinal cord stimulation (SCS). You may benefit from SCS if your injury can’t be repaired surgically and you’ve not found relief from other therapies.
What is SCS?
Spinal cord stimulation is a surgically implanted technology that blocks the transmission of pain sensations in your spinal cord so they don’t reach your brain. The SCS device has three components:
- A small, battery-powered pulse generator, which is inserted into your body
- A wire with electrodes that goes from the generator to your spinal cord. It, too, is inserted into your body
- Handheld remote control
The SCS device can be powered by single-use batteries that must be replaced every 2-5 years or by rechargeable batteries that can last up to 10 years if charged regularly.
Go on a trial run
To make sure the SCS device blocks your pain signals and gives you relief, your doctor will conduct a 4- to 7-day trial run. First, your provider will insert a wire near your spinal cord using a syringe. Then, your doctor will give you a small generator that you will wear on a belt around your waist. Then, your doctor will attach the newly inserted wire to the generator.
You will then wear the device for about a week to evaluate how well it controls your pain.
A simple procedure
If you’re happy with the amount of pain relief you received during your trial run, your doctor will make an incision to permanently place the generator. The incision will be made at the back of your waist near your buttocks, and the generator will be placed there.
The wire from the trial run may be adjusted or replaced. The wire will then be connected to the newly inserted generator.
After your surgery, you will need to refrain from strenuous activity for several weeks. You will also need to refrain from driving or drinking alcohol until your follow-up appointment. Within a month, you will return to the office to make sure your incision has healed and so your doctor can remove stitches if necessary.
Among other things, the remote control will allow you to turn the generator on and off and adjust the stimulation strength. And if at any time you want the device removed, you can do so.
To find out if you’re a candidate for SCS to reduce your back pain, book an appointment online or over the phone with Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine today.